“In the future,” Andy Warhol famously said, “everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
The flip-side of that prediction, of course, is that our moment in the sun will be fleeting. Our 15 minutes will come — and go.
How about 17 minutes? That was the official length of a walkout by tens of thousands of high school students across the country on Wednesday to protest for more civilized gun laws. The students walked out one minute for each of the 17 victims killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The walkout was a phenomenal success. An army of marching teenagers, poised and passionate, put to shame their parents’ generation’s failure to stop the casual sale or weapons of war.
But what now?
Fame is fleeting but death is permanent, and the horrors being inflicted by the worst guns in the most dangerous hands will go on. The fight to ban assault-style weapons, and to stem the flow of illegal guns in cities such as Chicago, must continue. Seventeen minutes must become 17 days, which must become 17 months, which must become 17 years.
The next big protest is set for March 24. Young people are planning a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, and in cities elsewhere — including Chicago — to demand saner gun laws.
“Politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now,” organizers of the Washington march said in a Facebook statement. “Not one more — we cannot allow one more child to be shot at school.”
You are the best of us, students. Keep marching.
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